A British Imperialist Recipe to “Boil the Russian Frog”

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a stalwart of British imperialism, proposes that a nuclear showdown between the United States and Russia — a “Cuban Missile Crisis on steroids” over Crimea — could make it “easier” to settle the Russia-Ukraine war. The proposal is laid out in an article by Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director General of the institute, in an article titled “This War Still Presents Nuclear Risks — Especially in Relation to Crimea”. He methodically discusses how Russia could be forced into a nuclear confrontation, from which, he assumes, it would ultimately back down.

Chalmers suggests that Kiev, emboldened by NATO’s strategy over the past three months of “boiling the Russian frog”, by which he means the delivery of increasingly sophisticated weapons in ever greater amounts to Ukraine, could move to recover Crimea as it has desired to do since 2014. That could be considered an existential threat for Russia, which would push Vladimir Putin into putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert and threatening to use them. “It would be a moment of extreme peril,” Chalmers acknowledges, but “precisely because of the peril inherent in such a situation a nuclear crisis of this sort could make it easier for leaders to make difficult compromises.”

Malcolm Chalmers is not an isolated madman, and the RUSI is not a marginal outfit that no one listens to. According to its own website, it “has been at the centre of policymaking and thinking on defence and security from the rise of the British Empire to its transformation and dissolution [sic], through both World Wars and the Cold War”.

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